Our extensive findings on the issues affecting in-house counsel's
Our extensive findings on the issues affecting in-house counsel's
The Survey: Our extensive findings on the issues affecting in-house counsel’s choice of external counsel, and a look at trends across the region � � 22 Asian-Counsel Firms of the Year: A full list of the winning firms as voted by our in-house counsel community � � 38 The X Factor: Winning firms reveal why they believe their winning practice areas stand out in the crowd � � 42
Representing Corporate Asia 22 ASIAN-COUNSEL 22 ASIAN-COUNSEL W ith the corporate world shaken by the global economic downturn, relation- ships between organisations and their external legal advisors have never been more important.
Whilst companies experiencing stressful conditions across Asia and the United Arab Emirates are now, perhaps more than ever, relying on guidance and advice from external counsel on matters of legal uncertainty and complexity, law firms are fighting to hold onto clients as they suffer the effects of declining activity levels. Despite this dual necessity, many agree that the downturn has shifted the balance of power in the relationship between internal and external counsel, with many in-house counsel now demanding more flexible partnerships, improved serv- ice levels and lower fee rates.
So what are in-house counsel really looking for in 2009? The answers can be found in the results of Asian- Counsel’s annual survey, Representing Corporate Asia. Conducted throughout the month of June 2009, the survey identifies factors that influence in-house counsel in their choice of external lawyers whilst highlighting areas of concern in dealing with law firms. Sent to over 15,000 in-house counsel and senior corporate manage- ment across the Asia Pacific and the UAE, the results of the survey underscore the importance of quality and value of services received from external counsel, whilst providing information on the mindset of the in-house community in individual jurisdictions.
The calibre of survey respondents is also evident, with 58 percent of respondents comprising Heads of Legal, General Counsel and Chief Executive Officers, and 42 percent consisting of senior counsel and in- house counsel.
Asian-Counsel is also pleased to announce the win- ners of our Firms of the Year for 2009. As part of the survey, in-house counsel and senior corporate manage- ment were asked, with no obligation, to nominate law firms from across the region as their preferred local and international legal providers in each practice area. The results, therefore, do not indicate which law firms have been most active in any given area or indeed, which firms have worked on the most prominent or prestigious deals. Rather, the results are a true representation of which private practice teams have made a strong impression on their clients and the in-house community in general, providing the most objective and significant recognition of the winning firms.
For the first time ever, the Firms of the Year awards have also included an Emerging Firm category, with the winners being law firms established for less than ten years but who have already made a significant impact with clients across a number of practice areas. In our special report ‘The X Factor: What it takes to create a winning team’, we will also hear from some of the winning firms as to why their practice areas have attracted the attention of corporate counsel in a particu- lar jurisdiction, and how they endeavour to meet the needs of their in-house counsel clients. Survey methodology The confidential survey, carried out both online and in writing, asked recipients to respond to nine multiple- choice questions which canvassed their views on their utilisation of private legal practitioners, and identified matters of concern in retaining external practitioners.
The questions were as follows: • How large is your in-house legal / compliance team? • In the coming year, do you think your in-house legal team will grow, shrink, or remain the same? • In the coming year, do you expect to use external counsel more, less, or about the same?
• What three factors most influence your choice of outside counsel? What makes in-house counsel tick? Asian-Counsel takes an in-depth look at the issues affecting the working relationship between in-house counsel and private practitioners across the Asia Pacific and UAE.
Representing Corporate Asia 24 ASIAN-COUNSEL • Which issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with outside counsel? • Which law firm do you prefer to use for particular practice areas, and why? • Which international law firm have you found most responsive to your needs, and why? • Which domestic law firm have you found most responsive to your needs, and why? • Who do you consider the outstanding private prac- tice lawyer in your jurisdiction, and why? The results of the survey, broken down to reflect responses at both regional and jurisdictional levels, provide a key insight into the motivations of corporate counsel when hiring external lawyers in this unstable climate.
ASIA PACIFIC AND THE UAE: OVERALL TRENDS At a regional level, the vast majority of in-house respondents are currently working in legal and/or com- pliance teams of 2-5 people or 6-20 people (41.73 per- cent and 34.33 percent respectively). The remaining corporate counsel come from teams consisting of 1 person, 21-50 people and 51 people or more. In direct contrast to the unstable employment envi- ronments many private practitioners have faced in the past months, where the threat of redundancy has been an ongoing concern, the results of the survey were markedly reassuring for in-house counsel in respect of job security: 74.75 percent of respondents noted that How big is your in-house legal/compliance team? 41.73% 34.33% 7.21% 7.14% 9.58% 51 people or more 21-50 people 6-20 people 2-5 people 1 person
In-House Survey 2009 JULY / AUGUST 2009 25 The Firm Cho & Partners was established in 2002 by two senior members who decided to leave a large firm environment to create a more focused, efficient and responsive practice. Based on the reputation and capabilities of the founding members (Tae-Yeon Cho and Ik Hyun Seo), as well as the established trust and loyalty of their clients, Cho & Partners was immediately active in representing multinational clients. The firm continues to primarily represent companies as well as trade organizations that are among the most recognized names and leaders in various industries, such as software, computing and electronics, retailing, fashion and luxury goods, energy, movies, insurance, sporting goods, wines, etc.
The key to the firm’s success is its philosophy – always provide the highest level of service that sophisticated multi-national clients expect, and know each client and its business well so that matters will be addressed as effectively and thoroughly as possible. Areas of Practice The firm has a strong and diverse practice in all aspects of intellectual property. It is very active with both domestic and in- ternational prosecution practice in both trademarks and patents, as well as related disputes and administrative proceedings. In the area of copyrights, the firm represents a number of individual companies as well as international industry organizations, providing counseling and assisting in legislative efforts.
The firm enjoys a particularly strong reputation for its litigation practice and enforcement expertise. The firm is regularly engaged in high profile IP litigation and is responsible for obtaining several landmark decisions at every court level, includ- ing the Supreme Court. In the area of anti-counterfeiting and enforcement, the firm is widely known for its effective and creative programs in com- bating many difficult problems in Korea. The firm represents many brand owners in various industries and manages among the most active anti-counterfeiting programs in the country. The firm also serves as the regional outside counsel for a multi- national company in its enforcement matters throughout Asia.
Cho & Partners 6th and 13th Floors, Ann Jay Tower, 718-2 Yeoksam-dong Kangnam-ku, Seoul 135-080, Korea Contact Person: Mr. Ik Hyun Seo (firstname.lastname@example.org) Telephone: 822-6207-6800 Fax: 822-6207-6801 Cho & Partners is honored to be named Korea’s Firm of the Year in Intellectual Property
Representing Corporate Asia 26 ASIAN-COUNSEL 26 ASIAN-COUNSEL their team size is likely to remain the same during the coming year, with only a very slim margin (5.75 per- cent) anticipating any reduction in size. External law- yers interested in investigating in-house opportunities will be encouraged by the statistics which reveal that almost 20 percent of respondents expect their in-house teams to grow in the following twelve months.
Just over half of the respondents across the Asia Pacific and the UAE felt their teams were likely to engage external counsel on similar terms as they had done previ- ously (52.81 percent), whilst it was fairly even split between the remaining respondents as to whether their use of law firms would increase or decrease (25.55 per- cent and 21.64 percent respectively).
Factors influencing choice of external counsel Corporate counsel were also asked to comment on the three factors that most influenced their choice of out- side counsel, from a possible 18 options (please refer to Figure 1). Despite the serious budgetary pressures facing the vast proportion of in-house teams, coupled with recent demands for more flexible billing arrange- ments, fees dropped one spot from our 2008 poll, regis- tering as only the third most influential factor for in-house counsel when choosing their external legal advisors. Flexible billing policies ranked a mere eighth on the list.
Expertise in a specific area reigned supreme for a second year running, featuring in the top two choices for each of the ten jurisdictions surveyed. The second most popular choice was a firm’s level of responsive- ness which, featuring in the top three responses in each jurisdiction, bounded into the spotlight after a fifth ranking in last year’s poll. In fourth place, reputation of a law firm remained a noteworthy indicator, although in-house counsel are far less swayed in 2009 by the reputation of individual lawyers (dropping from fourth to tenth place), perhaps intimating that many corpora- tions are increasingly eager to look at a firm as a whole package in this uncertain climate, rather than pay for the advice of individual lawyers from different firms.
In the coming year, do you expect your in-house team to .
74.45% 19.79% 5.75% remain the same grow shrink 52.81% 25.55% 21.64% In the coming year, do you expect to use external counsel . the same more less Which factors most influence your choice of outside counsel? Figure1: (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Requirements of insurance company Reach/office location IT Utilisation Low turnover Other reasons Size of firm Brand name of firm Company list of approved counsel Lawyers with certain cultural/language skills Free know-how Flexible billing policies Personal relationship with lawyer Reputation of individual lawyer Relationship between co. & firm Reputation of firm Fees Responsiveness Expertise in a specific area Illustration: Johnnie Au
Representing Corporate Asia 28 ASIAN-COUNSEL Issues of concern when dealing with external counsel The top three responses remained largely in line with those from our 2008 poll. Excessive fees again ranked as the criterion of greatest concern to in-house counsel in 2009 (58.46 percent), with seven of the ten jurisdic- tions voting accordingly. The second and third factors of most significance for corporate counsel were again a law firm’s failure to completely understand their cli- ent’s business or company (43.83 percent), and a failure to answer questions and concerns in a reasonable time (39.93 percent), although these criteria were ranked in the opposite order last year (please refer to Figure 2 for full results in 2009).
COUNTRY BY COUNTRY China Boasting a strong response rate from a diverse range of industries, in-house counsel and senior management from China were more than happy to share their views on the service of external practitioners. The Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry provided the largest proportion of votes (27 percent), with Financial Services (21 percent) and the Manufacturing sector (11 percent) polling in second and third place. According to the poll, respondents from China rate expertise in a specific area (66.7 percent) as the main source of attraction when choosing outside counsel.
Fees (55.1 percent) and reputation of a firm (43.5 per- cent) rounded out the top three choices. Interestingly, China was the only jurisdiction to rank working with lawyers with certain cultural/language skills in its top six choices, highlighting the continued demand for strong domestic firms and the need for international firms to recruit Chinese lawyers with international experience, an often difficult task in light of the contin- ued shortage of such lawyers.
In respect of issues of concern when dealing with external counsel, a failure to understand the business or company garnered poll position with 56.5 percent of respondents targeting this as the most important issue. Alarmingly, respondents listed wrong or bad advice as equal second with excessive fees (43.5 percent). Chi- nese in-house counsel also listed work performed slowly/inefficiently (39.1 percent) as their third greatest concern when dealing with external counsel. Which issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Bad firm publicity Other reasons Deteriorating brand name/ reputation Personality conflict Change of responsible partner Ethical conflict Frequent turnover of associates Lack of involvement by partners Missed deadline Work performed slowly/ inefficiently Lack of update/news on matters Unexplained fees Wrong/bad advice given Failure to answer questions/ concerns in a reasonable time Failure to completely understand business/company Excessive fees Figure2: Illustration: Johnnie Au Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
China (%) (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Personal relationship with a lawyer Responsiveness Reputation of law firm Fees Expertise in a specific area What issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Failure to answer questions/ concerns in a reasonable time Work performed slowly/inefficiently Excessive fees; Wrong/bad advice Failure to understand business/company Illustration: Johnnie Au
In-House Survey 2009 JULY / AUGUST 2009 29 Hong Kong Interestingly, the greatest proportion of respondents from Hong Kong came from the TMT sector (32 percent), with Financial Services relegated to second place (27 percent) in 2009.
Respondents from Hong Kong’s Infrastructure and Energy/Natural Resources sectors submitted votes in equal numbers (20 percent each). For the second year running, an overwhelming propor- tion of corporate lawyers in Hong Kong selected expertise in a specific area (81.8 percent) as their most influential factor in choosing external counsel, with fees and responsiveness ranking equal second in importance (57.57 percent). The relationship between their company and a law firm was also deemed of significance (33.3 percent) by in-house counsel. Amidst current economic hardship, the poll highlighted excessive fees (72.7 percent) as the primary concern for in- house lawyers when using private practitioners.
In a shift from 2008 results, in-house counsel became more concerned with a law firm’s failure to answer their questions/concerns in a rea- sonable time (51.5 percent) and less troubled by work being performed slowly/inefficiently, whereas wrong/bad advice again earned a position in the top three issues at 39.4 percent. India Closely aligned with results from China, the majority of respondents in India came from three of the country’s key Hong Kong (%) (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Failure to understand business/company Unexplained fees Wrong/bad advice Failure to answer questions/ concerns in a reasonable time Excessive fees 0 20 40 60 80 100 Reputation of an individual lawyer Relationship between company & law firm Fees; Responsiveness Expertise in a specific area Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
What issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? Illustration: Johnnie Au
Representing Corporate Asia 30 ASIAN-COUNSEL sectors: Financial Services and Manufacturing/Con- struction (24 percent apiece) and TMT (20 percent). However, unlike China (and Hong Kong), India was one of only four jurisdictions to rank fees outside the top three influences when choosing external counsel. The jurisdiction placed greater merit in responsiveness (78.26 percent), expertise in a specific area (65.2 percent) and reputation of a firm (60.87 percent), with less than half of respondents nominating fees as a prominent factor (47.1 percent).
The issue of excessive fees is not taken lightly in India however, with respondents listing this as their greatest concern (60.87 percent) when dealing with external counsel. Unexplained fees dropped from second to fifth position, with in-house counsel identifying a lack of update/news on matters (54.65 percent) and missed deadlines (41.3 percent) as the second and third most pressing issues in 2009, indicating a need for some firms in India to improve their levels of respon- siveness and time management.
Indonesia Strong results from Indonesia were divided fairly evenly between TMT (24 percent) and Financial Serv- ices (21 percent). Unsurprisingly, the Infrastructure and Energy/Natural Resources sectors were also well-repre- sented (16 percent each). India (%) (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Relationship between company & law firm Fees Reputation of law firm Expertise in a specific area Responsiveness 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Failure to understand business/ company; Failure to answer questions/ concerns in reasonable time Missed deadline Lack of update/news Excessive fees Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
What issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? Illustration: Johnnie Au
In-House Survey 2009 JULY / AUGUST 2009 31 Mirroring results from India, in-house counsel in Indonesia also ranked responsiveness, expertise in a specific area and reputation of a firm as the top three factors when choosing external counsel (59.65 percent, 56.14 percent and 56.1 percent respectively), with fees the fourth most influential reason (49.1 percent). The lesser emphasis on fees in these two jurisdictions may well be an indicator of the desire of companies to retain the best legal advice in these emerging markets over securing the most competitive rates.
Although excessive fees (59.6 percent) also took first place in Indonesia amongst the list of concerns when dealing with private practitioners, the jurisdic- tion’s second and third nominations diverged from those selected by Indian in-house counsel, with results indicating a failure to understand the business or com- pany (38.6 percent) and unexplained fees (35.1 percent) as being of greater concern. Japan The vast majority of respondents came from Japan’s Finan- cial Services industry (64 percent), followed by a strong showing from TMT (24 percent). The Life Sciences and Manufacturing/Construction sectors also came into play, each responsible for 6 percent of the votes submitted.
Indonesia (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Relationship between company & law firm Fees Reputation of law firm Expertise in a specific area Responsiveness (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Missed deadline; Lack of update; Work performed inefficiently Failure to answer questions/ concerns in reasonable time Unexplained fees Failure to understand business/company Excessive fees Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
What issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? Illustration: Johnnie Au
Representing Corporate Asia 32 ASIAN-COUNSEL Amidst recession and economic gloom, it appears that strong relationships stand in good stead in Japan. The only jurisdiction to identify the relationship between a company and law firm as the prime factor when choosing external counsel (43.7 percent), Japanese in- house counsel also placed emphasis on personal rela- tionships with lawyers (36.8 percent). In second place, responsiveness and expertise in a specific area (each 42.1 percent) are also strongly valued.
In light of the value placed on building strong rela- tionships with external counsel, it is hardly surprising that Japanese in-house counsel will be concerned where these practitioners fail to have a solid understanding of their business or company (42.1 percent). They are also the only jurisdiction to list a lack of partner involve- ment (15.79 percent) as a noteworthy source of appre- hension. The emphasis on relationships is tempered with concern over excessive fees and a failure by exter- nal counsel to answer questions and concerns in a rea- sonable time (26.3 percent).
Malaysia Responses from Malaysia came from a wide range of industries, with the Infrastructure sector providing the highest proportion of votes (18 percent). TMT (15 per- cent), Financial Services and Manufacturing/Construc- tion (13 percent apiece) were also well-represented. Little has changed in respect of the expectations of Japan (%) (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 Fees; Reputation of an individual lawyer Personal relationship with a lawyer Expertise in a specific area; Responsiveness Relationship between company & law firm 0 10 20 30 40 50 Lack of partner input or involvement; Missed deadline Excessive fees; Failure to answer questions/concerns in reasonable time Failure to understand business/company Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
What issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? Illustration: Johnnie Au KEMALSJAH & ASSOCIATES Attorneys at Law FIRM OF THE YEAR INDONESIA for Employment/Labor Plaza Bapindo – Bank Mandiri Tower Level 22 Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 54-55, Jakarta 12190, Indonesia T: 62-21-5266206 I F: 62-21-5266202
In-House Survey 2009 JULY / AUGUST 2009 33 Malaysian in-house counsel from 2008 to 2009, with responsiveness (82 percent), expertise in a specific area (76.9 percent) and fees (74.3 percent) again identified as the three most influential factors when choosing external counsel.
One interesting observation is the increasing expectation of responsiveness, which only polled in third place last year. The jurisdiction contin- ued to place value on the reputation of both firms and individual lawyers (41.02 percent and 38.46 percent respectively).
In-house counsel have also largely remained con- sistent in their concerns when dealing with private practitioners, again citing excessive fees as their main complaint (69.23 percent), with a firm’s failure to answer questions and concerns in a reasonable time also a repetitive issue (58.97 percent). However, the juris- diction has this year highlighted a firm’s failure to understand a company or business (56.4 percent) as an aggrieving factor, perhaps indicating a need for law firms to work on personalising their approach and enhancing relationships with in-house teams. Singapore Two of Singapore’s fundamental industries, TMT (37 per- cent) and Financial Services (29 percent), drove the largest Malaysia (%) 0 20 40 60 80 100 Reputation of an individual lawyer Reputation of law firm Fees Expertise in a specific area Responsiveness (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Work performed slowly/ inefficiently Lack of update/news Failure to understand business/company Failure to answer questions/ concerns in a reasonable time Excessive fees Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
Representing Corporate Asia 34 ASIAN-COUNSEL numbers of votes, with the Infrastructure and Manufacturing/ Construction sectors also represented (8 percent apiece). Having been listed as a key factor in the 2007 survey but not in 2008, responsiveness re-emerged with vigour in 2009 with Singaporean in-house counsel designating it their strongest influencing factor (87.5 percent) when selecting external counsel. The jurisdiction continued to place emphasis on expertise in a specific area (79.2 per- cent) and fees (70.8 percent), with half the respondents also seeking to highlight the importance of an established per- sonal relationship with individual lawyers.
In 2009, in-house counsel remained concerned about excessive fees (79.2 percent), a firm’s failure to under- stand their business or company (62.5 percent), and a failure to answer questions and concerns in a reasonable time (58.3 percent). An additional concern raised by respondents was the incidence of unexplained fees. With so many in-house teams facing budgetary restraints, in-house counsel are most likely now requiring specific fee details from firms in an effort to make their dollars go further.
South Korea In a marked increase from our 2008 poll, a significant 50 percent of the respondents in 2009 came from the Repub- lic’s Financial Services industry. TMT and Infrastructure Singapore (%) (%) 0 20 40 60 80 100 Relationship between company & firm Personal relationship with a lawyer Fees Expertise in a specific area Responsiveness 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Work performed inefficiently Unexplained fees; Failure to answer questions/ concerns in a reasonable time Failure to understand business/ company Excessive fees Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
JULY / AUGUST 2009 35 also had a voice, respectively contributing 15 percent and 10 percent of the responses. Respondents again viewed expertise in a specific area as being the most influential factor when retaining external counsel (80 percent). In a shift from 2008 results however, in-house counsel were also heavily swayed by levels of responsiveness (60 percent) and the reputation of an individual lawyer (50 percent), making South Korea the only jurisdiction to place such empha- sis on a lawyer’s reputation.
Although again polling in the top spot, in-house coun- sel placed increased weight on excessive fees in 2009, with 80 percent of respondents identifying this issue as their main concern.
They were also troubled by firm’s failing to understand their business or company (50 per- cent) and providing wrong or bad advice (40 percent). Personality and ethical conflicts also ranked equal fourth, alongside unexplained fees and a lack of update or news on matters. Thailand Once again, the largest proportion of responses came from Thailand’s Financial Services industry (39 percent). In 2009, strong responses were also garnered from the TMT sector (33 percent), with Manufacturing/Construction pro- South Korea (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Fees Personal relationship with a lawyer Reputation of an individual lawyer Responsiveness Expertise in a specific area (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Unexplained fees; Lack of update; Personality conflict; Ethical conflict Failure to answer questions/ concerns in a reasonable time Wrong/bad advice Failure to understand business/company Excessive fees Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
Representing Corporate Asia 36 ASIAN-COUNSEL viding 17 percent of votes. Despite a shaky economic climate affecting all Asian jurisdictions, Thailand was the only jurisdiction to list fees as the most influential factor when selecting external counsel and was not shy in doing so, with 77.8 percent of respondents agreeing that costs would affect their choice of firm. It comes as little surprise then that 27.8 percent of respondents also viewed flexible billing policies and free know-how (such as legislative updates) as considerations they would take into account when making their decision.
Following this trend, Thai in-house counsel also viewed excessive fees as the dominant concern when dealing with external counsel (77.8 percent). In marked contrast to last year’s results, respondents also strongly felt that wrong or bad advice was a major concern (61.1 percent), an indication that many in-house counsel feel they are not getting value for money when retaining external counsel. United Arab Emirates The Financial Services (38 percent) and Infrastructure (23 percent) sectors were well-represented, with a strong response rate also received from the Real Estate and Wholesale/Retail industries (15 percent).
Results from the UAE were far from average when compared with responses from the other jurisdictions. Along with valuing expertise in a specific area, for the second consecutive year, 61.5 percent of respondents Thailand (%) (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Personal relationship with a lawyer; Reputation of law firm Responsiveness Expertise in a specific area Fees 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Failure to understand business/company; Failure to answer questions/concerns in a reasonable time; Missed deadline; Lack of update Wrong/bad advice Excessive fees Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel?
In-House Survey 2009 JULY / AUGUST 2009 37 felt the reputation of a firm was of primary concern the only jurisdiction to do so. In addition to fees (53.8 per- cent) and responsiveness (31.58), in-house counsel also highlighted concerns over whether external firms had received authorisation from the Dubai Financial Serv- ices Authority to work within the Dubai International Financial Centre, and whether private practitioners had a civil law background and were very familiar in local laws and regulations.
Again bucking the trend, respondents from the UAE deviated from the norm when selecting a lack of update or news as their main concern when dealing with exter- nal counsel (69.2 percent). Significantly, respondents had numerous other criticisms for external counsel, with wrong or bad advice, missed deadlines, work per- formed slowly or inefficiently and a firm’s failure to answer questions or concerns in a reasonable time, all deemed considerable (30.77 percent).
AC United Arab Emirates (%) (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Reputation of individual lawyer Responsiveness Fees Expertise in a specific area; Reputation of firm 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Wrong/bad advice; Missed deadline; Work performed inefficiently; Failure to answer questions/concerns in a reasonable time Unexplained fees Lack of update/news Which factors most influence your choice of external counsel? What issues have you found to be of concern when dealing with external counsel? Illustration: Johnnie Au Name (Mr/Ms/Mrs _ Job Title _ _ Company _ Email _ _ Address _ _ Tel _ Fax _ _ Date _ Signature _ _ YES, I would like to receive a hard copy of every issue of Asian-Counsel magazine (published 10 times a year) at the special discount price of HK$2,100/US$270 p.a.
(usual price HK$2,330/US$299 p.a.) COMPLETE AND RETURN FORM TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY Return by fax to: (852) 2575 0004 or Email: email@example.com Illustration: www.oweiss.com
Representing Corporate Asia 38 ASIAN-COUNSEL Continued ... China ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Clifford Chance King & Wood ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Eversheds Jun He BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Clifford Chance Jun He CAPITAL MARKETS Linklaters Jun He CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Clifford Chance Fangda Partners EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Minter Ellison King & Wood INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Baker & McKenzie China Sinda INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Herbert Smith LITIGATION Herbert Smith King & Wood PRIVATE EQUITY Clifford Chance Jun He PROJECT FINANCE Clifford Chance King & Wood REAL ESTATE JSM Mayer Brown Zhong Lun REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Fangda Partners RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY King & Wood TAX PricewaterhouseCoopers TMT Morrison & Foerster Jun He MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Jun He MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Clifford Chance Hong Kong ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Clifford Chance ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Herbert Smith BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Slaughter and May CAPITAL MARKETS Linklaters CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Linklaters EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Simmons & Simmons INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Lovells INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Lovells ISLAMIC FINANCE Allen & Overy LITIGATION Herbert Smith PRIVATE EQUITY Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker PROJECT FINANCE Slaughter and May REAL ESTATE Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Deacons RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY Lovells TAX Baker & McKenzie TMT Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Woo, Kwan, Lee, & Lo MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Baker & McKenzie ASIAN-COUNSEL Firms of the Year 2009 The selection of Asian-Counsel’s Firms of the Year 2009 was based on votes and testimonials by hundreds of senior in-house counsel across Asia and the UAE.
We asked the participants to tell us which law firms were their preferred external partners for each area of practice. Where appropriate, both a ‘local’ firm (i.e., a firm originated in that jurisdiction) and ‘international’ firm have been honoured. Representing Corporate Asia 38 ASIAN-COUNSEL
JULY / AUGUST 2009 39 Continued ... India ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS AZB & Partners ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Economic Laws Practice BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co CAPITAL MARKETS J. Sagar Associates CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR AZB & Partners ENVIRONMENTAL Crawford Bayley & Co INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Anand and Anand INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Proskauer Rose LITIGATION Wadia Ghandy & Co PRIVATE EQUITY Nishith Desai Associates PROJECT FINANCE AZB & Partners REAL ESTATE Wadia Ghandy & Co REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Crawford Bayley & Co RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY J.
Sagar Associates TAX Nishith Desai Associates MOST RESPONSIVE FIRM OF THE YEAR Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co Indonesia ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Adnan Kelana Haryanto & Hermanto BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners CAPITAL MARKETS Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Makarim & Taira S. EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Kemalsjah & Associates ENVIRONMENTAL Mochtar Karuwin Komar INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION DLA Piper Lubis, Santosa & Maulana ISLAMIC FINANCE KarimSyah LITIGATION Lubis, Santosa & Maulana PRIVATE EQUITY Bahar & Partners PROJECT FINANCE Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners REAL ESTATE Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Soewito Suhardiman Eddymurthy Kardono RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY White & Case Mochtar Karuwin Komar TAX PricewaterhouseCoopers TMT Makarim & Taira S.
MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR White & Case Japan ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS White & Case ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Iwata Godo CAPITAL MARKETS Linklaters Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Anderson Mori & Tomotsune INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS TMI Associates INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Herbert Smith LITIGATION Herbert Smith Continued on page 40 JULY / AUGUST 2008 39 In-House Survey 2009
Representing Corporate Asia 40 ASIAN-COUNSEL Continued ... REAL ESTATE Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Anderson Mori & Tomotsune RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY Tokyo Aoi TAX White & Case MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Atsumi & Partners MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR White & Case South Korea ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Kim & Chang ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Kim & Chang BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Shin & Kim CAPITAL MARKETS Kim & Chang CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Kim & Chang EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Lee & Ko INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Cho & Partners INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Kim & Chang LITIGATION Bae, Kim & Lee PRIVATE EQUITY Lee & Ko PROJECT FINANCE Lee & Ko REAL ESTATE Kim & Chang REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Kim & Chang RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY Kim & Chang TAX Yulchon MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Kim & Chang MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Clifford Chance Malaysia ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Wong & Partners BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Zaid Ibrahim & Co CAPITAL MARKETS Wong & Partners CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Wong & Partners EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Shearn Delamore & Co INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Wong & Partners INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Allen & Overy Skrine ISLAMIC FINANCE Zul Rafique & Partners LITIGATION Shearn Delamore & Co PRIVATE EQUITY Kadir Andri & Partners PROJECT FINANCE Kadir Andri & Partners REAL ESTATE Zul Rafique & Partners REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Wong & Partners RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY Kadir Andri & Partners TAX Wong & Partners TMT Wong & Partners MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Shearn Delamore & Co MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Baker & McKenzie Singapore ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Wong Partnership ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Jones Day Drew & Napier BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Linklaters Allen & Gledhill CAPITAL MARKETS Linklaters Allen & Gledhill CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Herbert Smith Wong Partnership EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Baker & McKenzie INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Baker & McKenzie INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Herbert Smith Representing Corporate Asia ...
Japan continued 40 ASIAN-COUNSEL
JULY / AUGUST 2009 41 Continued ... ISLAMIC FINANCE Wong Partnership LITIGATION Rajah & Tann PRIVATE EQUITY Drew & Napier PROJECT FINANCE DLA Piper Allen & Gledhill REAL ESTATE Allen & Gledhill REGULATORY/ COMPLIANCE DLA Piper Allen & Gledhill RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY Drew & Napier TAX Drew & Napier TMT ATMD Bird & Bird MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Wong Partnership MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Baker & McKenzie Thailand ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Davis Polk & Wardwell Siam Premier ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION Baker & McKenzie BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Baker & McKenzie Weerawong, Chinnavat & Peangpanor CAPITAL MARKETS Allen & Overy Siam Premier CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Norton Rose Siam Premier EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Siam Premier INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Tilleke & Gibbins INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Herbert Smith LITIGATION Baker & McKenzie Dherakupt PRIVATE EQUITY Davis Polk & Wardwell PROJECT FINANCE Baker & McKenzie REAL ESTATE Siam Premier REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Baker & McKenzie RESTRUCTURING & INSOLVENCY Baker & McKenzie TAX Law Alliance TMT Morrison & Foerster MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Siam Premier MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Baker & McKenzie United Arab Emirates ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS Herbert Smith BANKING AND FINANCE (INCLUDING SECURITIES/ STRUCTURED PRODUCTS) Denton Wilde Sapte CAPITAL MARKETS Linklaters CORPORATE/MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Hadef & Partners EMPLOYMENT/LABOUR Al Tamimi & Company INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY/ PATENTS Al Tamimi & Company INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Herbert Smith ISLAMIC FINANCE Allen & Overy LITIGATION Al Tamimi & Company PRIVATE EQUITY Herbert Smith PROJECT FINANCE DLA Piper REAL ESTATE Bin Shabib & Associates REGULATORY/COMPLIANCE Ashurst TMT DLA Piper MOST RESPONSIVE DOMESTIC FIRM OF THE YEAR Al Tamimi & Company MOST RESPONSIVE INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR Clifford Chance Emerging Firms 2009 INDIA Phoenix Legal INDONESIA Melli Darsa & Co JULY / AUGUST 2009 41 In-House Survey 2009
Representing Corporate Asia 42 ASIAN-COUNSEL I n addition to illustrating the motivations behind in-house counsels’ selection of exter- nal counsel across the region, Asian-Counsel’s ‘Representing Corporate Asia’ poll offers tan- gible evidence as to which law firms the in-house community finds most impressive across a range of areas. This peer evaluation considers expertise in particular practice areas, a firm’s local knowledge, and its ability to service clients on a more general level. We hear from a handful of the winning firms as to what makes their nominated practice areas distinc- tive in a competitive legal market.
ANTI-TRUST/COMPETITION China After first being prompted to undertake anti-trust/com- petition work in 2006 (when foreign investors were required to complete anti-trust filings under M&A rules), Jun He Law Offices expended sufficient resources to establish a specialised and concentrated team to widen the scope of its practice in 2007, following the promulgation of the Anti-Monopoly Law of the PRC (AML). With competition matters coming to the fore in China in recent months following the introduction of new anti-monopoly laws by the Ministry of Commerce, the firm has certainly proved it had its finger on the pulse.
Partner Janet Hui believes the firm’s early entry into this market has been a key component to the team’s success. She notes, “The team has built-up close work- ing relationships and strong trust with our clients over the past years, well ahead of other local firms which might have just started to build in this practice area”. The firm’s team is com- prised of lawyers from M&A, corporate commercial and litigation backgrounds, pro- viding it with the expertise and capability to address a myriad of anti-trust issues. Since its inception a few years ago, the team has handled a steady flow of work and, according to numerous responses from our 2009 poll, is now noted for offering smooth communication, accurate knowledge, a fast response time to queries and complaints, professionalism and reasonable fees.
Hui says that whilst the economic slowdown did impact the practice area due to a significant reduction in anti-trust filings, the volume of filings has again picked-up in The X Factor: What it takes to create a winning team Asian-Counsel seeks answers from some of the winning firms as to what lies behind their secrets to success… Janet Hui
In-House Survey 2009 JULY / AUGUST 2009 43
Representing Corporate Asia 44 ASIAN-COUNSEL recent months. Increasingly receiving instructions from clients outside the PRC relating to the effects and impact of the AML, the team’s workload is also evi- dence of China’s ever-mounting reputation as a major player on the world’s economic stage. EMPLOYMENT Indonesia According to in-house counsel surveyed, the employment law capabilities of Indonesian boutique firm Kemalsjah & Associates can be singled out from competitors owing to the firm’s legal expertise, business knowledge and acumen, responsiveness and costs consciousness.
The firm is led by noted lawyer Kemalsjah Siregar. Receiving his first taste for employment law in 1988, when he was assigned to handle a mass termination involving 11,000 employees from three banks closed by the government, Siregar later became the first Indonesian lawyer to focus entirely on employment and industrial affairs in 1993. The firm’s business has remained largely unaffected by the downturn, with companies continuing to have employ- ment issues in spite of any change in economic climate. Siregar notes that his team is further advantaged by the fact “there are only a few reliable employment and industrial lawyers in Indonesia,” limiting the firm’s competition in this field.
Nonetheless, the employment team works hard to maintain its dominant position, consistently studying rele- vant laws and court judgments in an effort to understand the considerations taken into account by the law-makers, whilst comforting clients and providing practical and prag- matic advice in response to issues that arise. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY South Korea Following the firm’s establishment in 2002 as an Intellec- tual Property practice, Cho & Partners has gone from strength to strength, a fact reflected in the comments by polled in-house counsel which extolled the firm’s exper- tise, professionalism and lower fees.
Whilst IP remains the firm’s primary focus, its copyright practice has also grown significantly in recent years. This has largely been in response to the many changes to the Republic’s Copyright Act, with companies and industry associations eager to keep track of, and comply with, the legislation. The firm promotes a relaxed working environment by instigating a casual dress-code (when corporate attire is not strictly nec- essary) and encouraging all team-members to share their thoughts freely, rather than simply taking orders from the top. Partner Ik Hyun Seo says this approach “allows our team to be more creative and think outside the box when handling matters.” In addition to its progressive approach, Seo attributes the firm’s success partly to the fact that each client is given personal attention from the members of the team responsi- ble for his or her particular matter.
“The client knows which individual to contact if he has any questions and can be assured that the lawyer will know the details of the case. Clients who have come to us after working with other firms often mention this as a significant point.” Seo says that the firm also takes every possible measure to maintain its qual- ity of work, “even if this means that senior members need to spend non-billable time reviewing and editing work prepared by a junior member…. The firm believes that maintaining its reputation and work quality cannot be com- promised for increased profitability.” Thailand Established in 1890, Tilleke & Gibbins is Thailand’s oldest firm and, boasting an IP practice that dates back to the early Top winners by jurisdiction JURISDICTION FIRM AWARDS CHINA Jun He Law Offices / Clifford Chance =6 HONG KONG Lovells 3 INDIA AZB & Partners / Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A.
Shroff & Co =3 INDONESIA Ali Budiarjo Nugroho Reksodiputro (ABNR) 4 JAPAN White & Case / Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu =3 MALAYSIA Wong & Partners 7 SINGAPORE Allen & Gledhill 5 SOUTH KOREA Kim & Chang 9 THAILAND Baker & McKenzie 7 UAE Al Tamimi & Co 4
JULY / AUGUST 2009 45
Representing Corporate Asia 46 ASIAN-COUNSEL years of the twentieth century when the jurisdiction enacted the forerunner of its current trademark law, the firm’s prac- tice group has an unsurpassed wealth of experience to draw from. As it has continued to develop and evolve over the years, the firm’s IP practice has clearly found a winning formula when servicing clients, with in-house counsel praising the team’s reputation for expertise, detailed work, responsiveness and reasonable fees.
Darani Vachanavuttivong, co-managing partner and man- aging director of the firm’s Intellectual Property depart- ment, says that some of the firm’s success is due to the fact it makes every effort to offer clients an integrated IP practice.
The department’s IP attorneys, patent attorneys, patent agents and support staff work side-by-side, Vachana- vuttivong says, “as a cohesive unit to provide responsive and efficient services at a lower cost.” Furthermore, whilst the firm is flexible in respect to fees, she maintains there is a strict approach to providing high quality levels of service. “The members of our IP team are professional but also friendly, optimistic and proactive. We work with our clients as a team, focusing on mutual support and positive out- comes.” When coupled with the firm’s vast IP experience, this is surely an attractive combination.
INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION Singapore In-house counsel commended Herbert Smith’s Singapore arbitration team, part of the firm’s disputes practice group, for its expertise, levels of responsiveness, flexible billing practices and emphasis on personal relationships. Traditionally strong in energy, telecommunications and financial services arbitration, the firm has also represented clients from the manufacturing, electronics and shipping sectors on a number of arbitrations, with the disputes team more generally focusing on providing comprehensive investment protection for international corporations embroiled in any litigation, arbitration and regulatory dis- putes in Southeast Asia and, increasingly, the Indian sub- continent.
The group’s lead partners, Maurice Burke and Nick Peacock, are positive about the growth potential of the practice’s arbitration arm, commenting, “As the legal market in Singapore liberalises and the recent promotional efforts of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Singapore government begin to bear fruit, we anticipate a rise in our caseloads of Sin- gapore arbitration.” LITIGATION Malaysia – Shearn Delamore & Co Litigation has been a vital element of Malaysian firm Shearn Delamore & Co since its inception, having been the pioneering practice for the firm when it opened over one hundred years ago in 1905.
Drawing on the experience of its diverse team, which is comprised of lawyers from an assortment of training and academic backgrounds, the firm’s dispute resolution practice has grown since that time to cover a broad spectrum of contentious work across industries including banking, aviation, construction, health services, media, tele- communications and insurance.
Identifying the market as a very real influence on the firm’s practice areas, Robert Lazar, head of the firm’s Dispute Resolu- tion practice group, acknowledges the growing impact of Islamic finance in Malaysian, comment- ing, “Islamic banking and finance has been growing phenomenally and will con- tinue to take centre state in banking and finance.” He also anticipates a general increase in litigation/dispute resolu- tion, owing to the slow down of markets both regionally and internationally. In order to maintain the success of the practice area in Malaysia’s expanding legal market, Lazar Darani Vachanavuttivong Maurice Burke Robert Lazar